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How to get a job after losing one in the pandemic (or never being able to find one in the first place)

What are some tips for everyone from recent grads to seniors working hard to get a foot in the door?

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — Throughout the pandemic, employment struggles have been rampant.

Either people were losing their jobs and had a hard time finding another one, or never found a position in the first place.

So far, 45% of graduates from the class of 2020 haven’t found their first post-college job, according to a survey done by the employment site Monster.

QUESTION: So what are some tips for the recent graduates out there still trying to get a foot in the door?

WUSA9’s Q&A Team went to David Remick, Executive Director of the Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council, for that advice.

“You know, first, every college and university has some sort of Career Center, and in those Career Center a ton of services, including job fairs that might be available for their students. The second you graduate, guess what, you become a part of the alumni. Join your Alumni Associations, begin networking with fellow alumni, you never know how that might lead to your next job,” he said. 

As for those who are well past the early post-grad years and are on the job hunt once again, Remick said there are other tried and true places every job hunter should check. “I would contact your last employer and see if they're hiring back. And I would also contact your employer's competitors because you have their experience that they're looking for.”

Q: If you’ve been out of work anywhere from a few months to a few years - what should you do with that newly acquired blank space on your resume? Or say to an interviewer who asks what you’ve been doing with your time off?

A: Remick explained that, first of all, it’s always critical to be open and honest about what you’ve been doing. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find something productive to do with your free time that you can put in to fill up that blank area. 

“Have you been volunteering? Have you been skilling yourself up for the job that you want to get? Put that information into your resume.”

Q: “Skilling yourself up” is so important when you’re on the job hunt. But what exactly does that mean?

“What I mean by skilling yourself up is if you want a particular job, look at the job and see what types of skills are looking for,” he explained. “If you don't have some of those skills, figure out where you can find those skills.

Remick shared that in Arlington, they host a course called Skillup City of Alexandria for interested job seekers. He also recommended their course, called LinkedIn Learning, and added that many libraries have the same course available to their members across the area. Many community colleges also have either low price or some free course offerings as well to sharpen your marketable skills, he said. 

Q: What’s your advice to job seekers feeling frustrated and demoralized after working hard to find something, but so far, nothing is panning out?

A: “Know that when the employer says no, it's not a personal thing; it's just that your talent doesn't match up with what they're looking for,” he assured.

“With 150,000 jobs that are available right now in the Greater Washington region, there's something out there for everybody. It just takes time. You have to put in the commitment, you have to motivate yourself because, at the end of the day, you are the driver to your own success.”

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